Undoubtedly, the most important piece of news for anyone interested in history in the last couple of days was that the skeleton found under a car park in Leicester has been identified as being that of Richard III's. (Previous postings on the subject here and here.)

There can be little more said on the subject until we hear definitely on whether Leicester Cathedral will reinter the bones and what kind of ceremony will be put together. However, there is some interest in the reconstruction of King Richard's face on the basis of the skull and using advanced computer technology together with older fashioned wax modelling.

The article in the Independent seems to have been written by someone who has not seen the famous portrait in the National Portrait Gallery, the starting point of Inspector Alan Grant's investigation in Josephine Tey's excellent Daughter of Time.
All known portraits of Richard III were painted after his death and do not show him in a particularly flattering light, which suited the Tudor’s dynasty’s portrayal of him as one of the great villains of history.
In fact, there is some evidence that the best known portrait is a copy of an earlier one, possibly painted in the King's lifetime. In any case it is not unflattering but shows a face of some sensitivity and a personality that is far more attractive than Henry VII's in the portrait that hangs nearby. (I assume that there will be a flood of visitors to Room 1 of the National Portrait Gallery. The magic of monarchy combined with the fascination of archaeological discovery will ensure that and, no doubt, sell many souvenirs. One hopes that Josephine Tey's novel will also shoot into the best-seller list.)

In fact, the fascinating aspect of the reconstruction, pace the journalist in the Independent is how close that face is to the portrait. Either those who worked on the reconstruction were influenced by the portrait or the latter was very life-like.


Powered by Blogger.




Blog Archive